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FOOD ALLEGIES!! PLEASE READ!!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi. I don't know how many of you decorate cakes as a hobby and how many of you do this as a business but I feel a need to clarify some things. I have read a few posts that tell me there are some serious misconceptions about food allergies out there. My 3 year old daughter has life-threatening allergies to peanuts, milk, and egg whites. So please forgive me if I seem a little tense but for the mother of a small child with food allergies, this a very scary subject.

First of all, lactose intolerance and milk allergy are 2 COMPLETELY different things. Milk allergies can KILL you. If my daughter were to ingest 1tsp! of milk, she would be covered head to toe with hives that spread until they all connect and she looks like one giant hive with her eyes swollen shut, would start projectile vomiting and would go into anaphylactic shock. We have carried an epi-pen since she was 9 months old. There is a list of about 40 ingredients that you have to look for when deciding if something is milk-free. So please don't think something is safe because it says Dairy-free or lactose-free. Butter flavoring and artificial flavoring are 2 of the ingredients on this list. So if you are going to bake a cake for a person with a food allergy, please let them or their mother (if it is a child) read the ingredients list for you before you use anything in their cake. Feeding your child something that wasn't made by you can be the scariest thing in the world for the parents of a child with such allergies.

Also, with the peanut allergy... Many people think if it doesn't have peanuts or peanut butter in it, then it's OK. NOT TRUE!!! Some people have the allergy so bad they will suffer just from breathing in the peanut dust. Luckily my daughter actually has to ingest it to react so we don't have to worry about her just being around peanuts as long as she doesn't touch them or put them in her mouth. What a LOT of people don't realize is that when you use utensils in peanut butter or cookies sheets to make peanut butter cookies, etc. you MUST scrub the equipment with soap and water in the sink and then sterilize in the dishwasher. This is the only way to ensure that you have gotten all of the peanut particles removed. Also, check the labels!! Even if something does not contain peanuts or peanut butter, it may have been processed in the same plant and even on the same equipment and therefore may be contaminated! My daughter can't eat any type of nut because it could have been processed on the same equipment as peanuts. Plain M&M's are unacceptable for a child with peanut allergies because they are processed at the same plant as the Peanut M&M's. By law, the label has to state whether or not it was processed near peanuts. If so, it will be stated on the package usually directly underneath the ingredients list. One example I can think of that you wouldn't think to associate with peanuts...the cookies that come in a McD's Happy Meal. The label states that they may contain traces of peanuts. There are so many things that you wouldn't think of, that I never thought of until I had to start reading EVERY label.

Sorry if I sound intense but I don't want another mother to have to go through what I did with my daughter because of common misconceptions. Rushing my child to the ER when she swelled up and turned blue because she couldn't breathe was the worst horror of my life. We won't buy anything from a bakery because of all of these issues (which is why I started decorating cakes) and our daughter is enrolled in a preschool that has a very strict peanut policy so we don't have to be scared for her life.

So if you agree to make an "allergy cake" for someone, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take special care because you are talking about someone's life. If you have a question about an ingredient in a cake mix, ask the parent. Don't depend on anyone else's advice unless they ABSOLUTELY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

If anyone would like my recipe for a milk free, egg-free cake just let me know. I have a recipe that uses soy margarine for the icing and now that my daughter is starting to outgrow some of her milk allergies, I have a recipe that uses butter-flavored Crisco. Only the person with the allergy can tell you if butter flavoring is safe for them.

Please forgive my ranting, but this is a very touchy (and scary) subject for me.

Ashley
post #2 of 26
I don't consider it ranting at all! You are passing on some info thats important and very close to your heart! Thanks and I for one made note of it and will be super careful!
To do what you truly love is to never work!
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To do what you truly love is to never work!
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post #3 of 26
Allergies are VERY SERIOUS! Thank you Ashley for teaching me and I'm sure many others a few things. Everything you noted is very important, so I thank you very much! I have Shellfish Allergies. . . so I can relate.

I would love to have your recipes, you never know when a request like yours will be made. I'll PM you my email address thumbs_up.gif
post #4 of 26
I don't consider it ranting, either. I would hope, however, that if someone asked me to do a cake for them, they would tell me if they or someone who would be eating the cake, had allergies to certain things.

Honestly, after reading your post--I don't know that I will do a cake for someone with life-threatening allergies. I would never get over it if something that came out of my kitchen caused someone to be rushed to the ER. Very scary, indeed!!

I know that at my dd's school, they can't even bring peanuts or peanut butter ANYTHING into the school.

(((HUGS)))) to you and your dd for having to live through those scary events. Hopefully she was start to outgrow them even more as she gets older.

Lisa
post #5 of 26
You're not ranting at all. I make cakes for a friend who's neice has the deadly peanut allergy. She gets all of her cakes from me because she knows she can trust me. It's scarey as a baker even when reading all of the ingredients and being super careful to turn a cake over knowing someone has an allergy and worrying about missing something on a label. This friend is so comfortable with me making her cakes that she forgot to tell me that her neice was going to be at a party I was making a cake for. I asked her if she was going to be at the party and got an OMG! I forgot all about it from her. It's not an issue to take lightly! We all can use an occasional reminder!

Debbie
Hope your day is a piece of cake!
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Hope your day is a piece of cake!
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post #6 of 26
You are quite right and it is a timely post!
Some folks are so severely allergic that even scrubbing and washing and rinsing and putting the utensils through the dishwasher will still leave enough traces for them to get violently ill. For folks with nut or shellfish allergies, this can be true.
Some folks with Celiacs Disease cannot have products using gluten in their kitchens. Separate cooking utensils, even cake pans and such, must be used and they can never have been used to make anything with any gluten in it. So it is not enough to use clean pans and utensils and bake gluten free, many folks must keep a gluten free home. This is essential for a lot of infants and small children with the disease. At one time just not ingesting products containing gluten was enough to keep safe. Not anymore, it has been discovered that trace amounts will remain in a kitchen, so kitchens must me absolutely gluten free.
Soap and water doesn't get rid of everything.
If I bake for a person with a peanut allergy, I get rid of anything containing peanuts that is in my home. I wash and scrub and rinse everything down beforehand. And still I warn that person that there have been peanuts in the home, just to be safe.
Your message is a good warning to everyone. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #7 of 26
I know parents of children with peanut allergies and they do not allow their children to eat food prepared by others moms. It's just not worth endangering the child's life so they can eat a cupcake with the rest of the kids.

I would suggest that anyone decorating cakes for profit should politely decline any requests to make an allergen-free cake. Think of the liability! I knew someone who would react to trace amounts of peanut. Someone in is family made sugar cookies, but the spatula had also been used for the pb cookies. Just the few crumbs from the spatula were enough to cause a nasty reaction.
Sleep deprived
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Sleep deprived
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post #8 of 26
WOW! My heart goes out to those kids and parents dealing with this! My daughters good friend has a lot of food allergies however I dont think they are life threatening. He is a little older (12) and knows what he can and cannot eat he reads the labels himself. I try to remind him to do so when he is @ my house. I tease my daughter about him and tell her her BF is gonna have to becone a Dr. to control his allergies and that I wanted a Dr. for a son-in-law someday anyhow! Of course she "AW MOM'S" me
To do what you truly love is to never work!
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To do what you truly love is to never work!
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post #9 of 26
jjandascog, thank you so much for sharing this with us .. we really do appreciate all the information you gave us and of course, we do not in any way think your ranting!! This is extremely important and things we should know .. the thought of what you've gone through with your child and their allegeries just must of been so difficult for you and still is... I do hope she someday outgrows these allegeries .. I know how very hard this must be for you to screen every single thing your child eats and to live in fear of her possibly eating something that may trigger her allergies .. my heart goes out to you and thank you so much for sharing this .. it's very helpful and useful information that we all need to know!!
Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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post #10 of 26
I do not feel like you are ranting, you definitely have a concern and I am glad that you are sharing this information. It keeps me well informed of the potential of ingredients to add when making cakes or cookies. I always asked the customers or anyone if they have children or anyone that might be allergic to ingredients I add to the baked goods and I also helps when customers or anyone that might be a subject of allergies to certain foods to let the baker know so that the recipes can either be altered or something else can be baked to accomondate the individual/s so that everyone can enjoy the editable goods. I am like you, I check and read labels cause there are certain ingredients that I can not have in my foods and when I go out to eat, I don't mind asking the waitress what ingredients are in a particular foods or desserts, that is just me. I brake out in hives also, but not from foods, but Douglas Fern Trees, I can't even pass near one and when you don't know what they look like, cause they all look the same to me so I have to ask someone before I even pass one so that I can change directions where to walk. Breathing the air is even worse when these types of trees are every where. I can't even go into the forrest anymore, which is not a problem, cause I have already seen one too many. It is not worth the risk. But I really enjoyed reading your post and my prayers are with you, your daughter and family.
post #11 of 26
You are not ranting at all. Thank you for the information!


Wandootie
Catering pics can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69676363@N00/
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Catering pics can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69676363@N00/
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post #12 of 26
I don't understand why if people are this allergic to something, they don't speak up???

If I make a dish and bring it for a party, I expect people to use a little common sense if they have severe allergies to something. I think it's more their responsibility than mine. I mean, you can't protect everyone from everything, or you'd end up serving water! (Which I believe some people are allergic to as well. icon_razz.gif )
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just want to thank you all for being so understanding. I have a neighbor who thinks it is crazy to expect public schools to have a peanut policy and she's jumped down my throat a couple of times about how I shouldn't expect Caitlin to get special treatment. I told her where she could go but it is very bothersome when people think you are over-exaggerating something like that. I don't let Caitlin eat anything unless I know every single ingredient. You've heard of "Kiss the Cook"? Well, I "Quiz the Cook!" All of our neighborhood parties, even if I make a cake, I make cupcakes also so Caitlin has something to eat. I go to every single one of her class parties and I make the cupcakes for them. I volunteer to bring as much to her parties as I can so I know she can join in. She is only 3 but she is VERY good about not eating other things. I think I've scared her enough by being very serious and stern with her that she has paid attention. At 2 years, she started telling people on her own "I can't eat dat. I haf go to da mergy room." Now she is speaking a lot more clearly and she pretty much knows things that she can and can't eat and everyone who knows us knows that they don't give her food without asking mom first. They don't even try to ask my husband anymore because every time they did he would just point them over to me.
Again, thank you so much for being understanding about the seriousness of this subject. I appreciate it very much especially after the reception I've gotten from other people.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjandascog

I just want to thank you all for being so understanding. I have a neighbor who thinks it is crazy to expect public schools to have a peanut policy and she's jumped down my throat a couple of times about how I shouldn't expect Caitlin to get special treatment. I told her where she could go but it is very bothersome when people think you are over-exaggerating something like that. I don't let Caitlin eat anything unless I know every single ingredient. You've heard of "Kiss the Cook"? Well, I "Quiz the Cook!" All of our neighborhood parties, even if I make a cake, I make cupcakes also so Caitlin has something to eat. I go to every single one of her class parties and I make the cupcakes for them. I volunteer to bring as much to her parties as I can so I know she can join in. She is only 3 but she is VERY good about not eating other things. I think I've scared her enough by being very serious and stern with her that she has paid attention. At 2 years, she started telling people on her own "I can't eat dat. I haf go to da mergy room." Now she is speaking a lot more clearly and she pretty much knows things that she can and can't eat and everyone who knows us knows that they don't give her food without asking mom first. They don't even try to ask my husband anymore because every time they did he would just point them over to me.
Again, thank you so much for being understanding about the seriousness of this subject. I appreciate it very much especially after the reception I've gotten from other people.



I can relate the th frustration! I'm a vegetarian and it can be so frustrating. People will say, it's safe to eat, it's chicken. icon_mad.gif They don't get that chicken, fish, and anything besides steak is an animal too. And then there's the folks that just assume because you don't eat meat there's something wrong with you mentally. lol
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
I agree. I don't think it is anyone's responsibility but my own and I am very careful about my daughter and usually we bring food for her wherever we go. I just wanted to set the record straight on some things because I have seen a few posts where the information was WRONG, Wrong, wrong. Since we are using this website as a help-center and preparing food for other people, I thought it would be important for people to understand that they need to ask the allergic person the information and not expect to receive information from someone who doesn't know for sure. I just want everyone to understand how serious it is especially since in telling people my daughter is allergic to milk, I can't tell you how many times the response has been "Oh, that's too bad. Don't they have medicine for lactose intolerance?" This is much more serious than lactose intolerance and could cost a child their life. I expect adults with these allergies to be responsible enough to take care of themselves. I don't however think it is unreasonable to expect a public school to be peanut-free. These are small children that don't always understand the seriousness of it. I'm trying hard to make sure my daughter understands but you never know. And since even Kindergarteners eat in the cafeteria at my son's school with not much supervision (only 4 teachers have lunchroom duty at a time), obviously a child with a food allergy is not being watched carefully to make sure they don't share food. My neighbor thinks that my daughter should have to eat in the office with the principal or her counselor when she starts school because her son won't eat anything for lunch but peanut butter sandwiches. But yet her son gets special treatment at baseball practice because he has asthma...which my daughter also has, by the way. I just think some people need to learn some compassion, sympathy, and empathy. For people out there who have none, you should try to have more feeling for other people. For the people who do already have those qualities, I thought it might help you to have the facts. Luckily I'm not bad at cake decorating so my daughter gets fantastic-looking birthday cakes...but not all mothers are as talented as the people on this website and could use a little help from an understanding cake decorator so their child can have a normal birthday in spite of their food allergies.
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